Scientology is one of the most controversial religions of all time. With an increasing number of celebrities in their list of members, the awareness of this belief has grown tremendously over the past few years. Tom Cruise and his wife, Katie are among the most popular practitioners of Scientology and much to their dislike, the tabloids and the general public have criticized them for unconventional ways of raising their child. While criticisms have been free-flowing, not a lot people know the basic principles of Scientology and their practices.
Scientology is a religion created by an American science fiction writer, L. Ron Hubbard. The origins of its belief are based on a self-help system called “Dianetics” which Hubbard developed in 1952. He then went on to label Scientology as an applied religion, forming the early foundations of the Church of Scientology which was launched in 1953. The word Scientology means “The study of truth.”
According to the Scientology website, “Scientology is the study of handling of the spirit in relationship to itself, others and all of life. The religion of Scientology is based on a few basic principles. The first of which is that man is immortal and that his experiences are beyond one lifetime. The capabilities of a man is also infinite and that through the proper steps, endless possibilities can be achieved. The realizations of an individual are respected and the religion recognizes that each person has a different set of experiences on which their personal truth is based on. As the website states “That which is true for you is what you have observed to be true.”
The teachings of Scientology are manifested in several practices. For those who are interested in joining their church, the first step to undergo is Auditing. This requires a one-on-one session with an auditor who uses what is called an E-meter to help locate an area of concern for the applicant or the “pre-clear.” The E-meter involves having to hold a metal can so that the Auditor can see the changes of a body’s electrical resistance when a person holds the electrode (can).
The pre-clear divulges personal information such as possible traumas, regrets or anything that could possibly be hindering them to reach their goals. The next practice that a person must go through is training. Students are to learn an in-depth study of Hubbard’s works and philosophies. There are 6 levels of Scientology training. The first part of training is Academy levels 0 to 4 and the second is New Era Dianetics. In total, Students are to study 12,000 pages and 450 lectures!
A popular Scientology practice heavily criticized by the public during Katie Holmes-Cruise’s pregnancy is silent birth. From the belief that coming out of the mother’s womb to join the world is a trauma, the delivery room must be as quiet as possible. Sunday service is offered by the Church of Scientology. Ceremonies for birth, marriage and death are performed by ordained Scientology ministers. In a funeral service, the minister speaks to the departed spirit and grants forgiveness for all offenses.